How did you start out your writing career? Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

I remember the day I got my very first book from the library at about age 5 or 6. I thought books were God's greatest gift to the world. At a later date, it occurred to me that the names on these books were names of real PEOPLE. (Formerly, they were names of super-human creatures; surely someone whose name appeared on a book had to be a special order of being!) At that young age, I didn't dare aspire to be a writer; but I knew it had to be the most sublime experience in the world.

How did you get the idea for "Before the Season Ends". Did you come up with this title? If not what was your working title?

Before the Season Ends was the book I wanted to read for years, and had been waiting for someone else to write—but it never happened. I wanted to read a Christian Regency romance—not just a pleasant read, but fun with a message. It's sort of like wanting a box of filled chocolates with surprises in each bite rather than a square of the unsweetened sort. Yes, this is candy and you'll enjoy it, but there's more to it than that; there's hope and love and a deeper reason for being alive than we ever suspected.

How did you come up with the idea for the book – to write about this time period? What research did you do to gather all the fascinating rules and manners of high society. Also of how the upper and lower class interact?

Being a fan of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, I wouldn't say I came up with the idea of writing a regency—I just fell in love with it, is more accurate! Starting with general books like, “What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew,” I just kept reading and digging out information in my local library (a task which is far easier today, with the internet. You can pretty much research exhaustively now without leaving your home).

Did you come up with the title of this book? If not what was the working title? How did you come up with that?

Before the Season Ends pivots around the social season in London of that time, which does come to an end each year; so the element of needing to solve the problems which are keeping the hero and heroine apart before that happens, is important. It's a suspense element. I did have a goal of not using a typical regency title, (The Duke's Dilemma, etc.--I hope there is no book by this title out there!) because my book is different, and I wanted that to be clear from the get-go.

I've read that you have 5 children and you home school them. When did you have time to write a book and home school your kids?




GRACE ON THE RUN AT CHRISTMAS (Grace is now Kindergareten age)

I wrote the book at night after they'd gone to bed, and on the occasional Saturday by hiding in a little study in our basement, at that time. I grew up in a large family with eight children so I have never needed absolute silence to concentrate, and that has been a big plus! Nowadays, I have two in college (one commutes from home), and I homeschool a great deal less than in the past. This year I am homeschooling my kindergartner—a joy—and my high schooler will be doing an online curriculum, which takes just a little bit of my time. My sixth grader is in Christian school. (You have to be flexible and go with the needs of each child.)

Is being an author everything you thought it would be? If not, what has been surprising to you?

I think I've always put authors, at least the many wonderful ones that I've loved, up on a sort of pedestal—ever since way back when I held that first library book. They just couldn't be ordinary people; they had to be extraordinarily different from you and me. Now that I'm an author I see it's been a myth of my own invention. Authors are generally people of strong conviction and drive—they've got a book they need to write and they do it. But otherwise, we still do dishes and tend sick children, and cook dinner for our families. We're just people, but we want to use the gift God has given us to share the message he puts in our hearts.

It says on the back cover that you couldn't find a book like this on book shelves so you decided to write one yourself? What kind of book were you looking for that you couldn't find? What made you write about this subject?

I loved the regency, but I wanted to share the message of hope and peace that God has for every person. Before the Season Ends has a strong-minded heroine whose faith in her God is central to the story. Through her, the reader can learn that God forgives any sin, that His help is available at all times, and at no cost—he's only a prayer away. Many people think they have to get themselves in shape to “qualify” for God's help, when in fact God alone can get us in shape—all we need do is turn to him with a sincere heart.

Can you tell me of two "Wow" moments you have had on your journey to being published and now afterwards? What made it a "Wow" moment for you?

The first time I wrote “The End” was a “Wow” moment, for sure. (You never know if you're really going to be able to fully tell a story until you do it.) And the day I held my very own book in my hands for the first time was another.

How do you come up with names for your characters? Is that a difficult process for you?

It can be. I try to keep a log of names I like. Having a baby name book around helps, too. Sometimes I see two names I like, and then I'll take the first name from one and the last name from another and combine them, maybe change a syllable, and then I've got my character's name.

What are you working on now? Can you tell us something about it?
I've just finished, The House in Grosvenor Square, which is a sequel to Before the Season Ends. Both books can stand alone, but of course you'll enjoy “Grosvenor Square” even more if you read BTSE first. “Grosvenor Square” has more plot threads and surprising happenings than the first book, and, I hope, the same level of fun and Regency atmosphere as the first—with a good twist of faith, of course. Lots of return characters, too.

What was your favorite book as a child? Why?

Oh, dear. To name just one seems impossible, but here's a few standouts:

The Yearling, The Little House books, (which I stumbled upon by accident during my quest to read every book in the children's department. I had to abandon that goal after I read about three long boring books in a row—a great disappointment. But I did find Laura Ingalls Wilder that way!) Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, The Boy Who Had the Power, Emmy Keeps A Promise, and, My Side of the Mountain. Also, The Velvet Room, and Harriet the Spy. Each of these books were compelling and wonderful in their own way, and I read them all more than once.

Some writers plot out their stories, others say they write by the seat-of- their pants? What kind of writer are you and why?

I'm definitely more of a seat-of-the-pants writer, but I'm striving to be more of a plotter. With Grosvenor Square, I used an outline method that doesn't come naturally to me, but it did shorten the writing time by quite a lot, and I think I'll always use this method for now on. It doesn't mean I don't do any impulsive twists or turns with my plot—this is what writing is all about. But it did help me think harder sooner than I might have done without the outline.

Could you please share some of your Testimony with us?

I became a Christian in my late teens, and grew slowly in the faith at first. But God has been wonderful and faithful. He took the mess I was and made my life truly beautiful. My family, my education, my writing, my whole world today, is one great big gift from Him.

That hymn, “Something Beautiful, Something Good,” could be my theme song.

What was the scariest moment you have had as a writer?

Thinking that my whole plot was flat, boring or stupid. It's also quite scary in the beginning when you first allow other people to read your work—what will they think? When you start to hear enough people say, “I loved it!” it helps immensely.

What was your happiest moment as a writer?

As wonderful as it is to find that people love my book, I actually think my happiest moment is yet to come. (Having Harvest House want to publish me was happy, but even this won't compare.) When I hear someone say that they turned to God, or grew in their faith, or said they found the courage to say a simple sinner's prayer because of my work, then I'll be supremely happy.


You won't want to miss it or her new book. It's really a great story. This book would make a great movie!! That's my opinion! :D


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